Gratitude and Gifts

Date posted: Friday 19 November 2021

It is already mid-November, and we are farther into the season we refer to as “holiday” than many of us would wish. We find that especially true when we are already subjected to Christmas advertising on television and Black Friday sales are already happening.


What happened to November being about Thanksgiving? And about expressing gratitude to God for the plenty of the harvest? How quickly we leap from jack-o-lanterns to Christmas trees. We also read about how we need to prepare for keeping peace with our families when we gather so that the vaxers and anti-vaxers do not come into conflict. Who should we ask to be at our table?


I hope you are like me and really appreciate Thanksgiving. I want to be with family, sharing our joys and sorrows as we gather to celebrate the gifts we have from God. For you, like me, this may be the first Thanksgiving together since the beginning of the COVID pandemic. We have missed the sense of togetherness as well as missing out on our shared gratitude. I am so eager to pray together, remembering that all we have are gifts from God and we gather to express our gratitude.


This year, the first Sunday in Advent comes at the close of the Thanksgiving weekend. Our season of preparation for the coming again of our Lord Jesus begins BUT the Christmas season is now yet here. As we prepare our hearts for the birth of Jesus, we also prepare for the sharing of gifts with family and friends. As you do that in this year of 2021, still in pandemic mode, consider gifts that give twice - - gifts that provide life and livelihood to those who produce them and those receive them. Consider alternative gifts for those who do not need material items, but which can bring life to someone else.


ELCA Good Gifts are excellent options but there are other organizations and agencies in your own communities that provide alternatives, too. Matching alternative gifts to the recipient can be fun: health supplies for a nurse, school supplies for children, solar-powered lanterns for engineers, and more. Be creative with your gifting and never forget you are expressing gratitude to God as you share in your gifting with both things and with the gift of presence. Presents and presence are both gifts appreciated and reflective of our God.


Vernita Kennen

Incarnation, Shoreview


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